Canada's federal housing agency is worried affordability will deteriorate unless the country acts on supply challenges and other housing measures soon.

The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation rang alarm bells last summer when it estimated the country needs to build 3.5 million more homes by 2030 than it is on track for, to reach some semblance of affordability.

While 271,000 homes were built two years ago and roughly 260,000 last year, chief economist Bob Dugan is now forecasting between 210,000 and 220,000 will be constructed this year.

Dugan believes this is a sign that the country is moving in the wrong direction and he is not optimistic that the country is on track to double the pace of housing starts.

Construction efforts have been constrained by labour shortages, higher interest rates and costs for materials, along with zoning issues and NIMBYism.

Dugan admits his outlook is not rosy but on the positive side, says moments of crisis can lead to innovation, which could positively alter the current housing forecast.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 16, 2023.